Christians make some bold claims about Atheists – they often say we have no reason for hope and no reason to be moral. They couldn’t be further from the truth and I suggest that they apply some cerebral thinking to this idea.
First, there are tangible reasons to have hope and morals for Atheists - if you abandon the idea of a god all that is left is our planet, universe and the people around us. Many Atheists arrive at a humanistic view and philosophy because of this. Without a god, we are ultimately responsible to something much more tangible then an invisible friend and a book – we are responsible to each other.
My parents, my wife, my kids, my friends, my community, my species - they are my moral center. If I wrong them by causing them pain in anyway there is no god that will forgive me – I can only try to gain their forgiveness. If I hurt them I risk damaging their one and only shot at life. Their one shot - think about it. Christians can believe the damage they do to others isn't as severe because the victims have eternal souls, Atheists don't have that option. When we cause pain we know that we have stolen someone's time and everyone's time is limited. That is a much deeper and more profound reason to be moral then fear of punishment in an unproven afterlife. It's also a reason to have great hope for the future. If all humans placed the same value on human life as Atheists with a humanist philosophy do, then war and suffering would end very quickly. We put our faith in humanity. Humans can work together to make life better for everyone and it's in each individuals best intrests to do so. If I make peoples lives better, it in turn helps make my life better. That gives me real hope and a real reason to be moral.
Christian teachings in effect offer no hope at all – they relegate humans to servants that are here only for their god’s purpose. Where is the hope in that view? I suggest that it’s a very dark and depressing view of life. They are told to believe they have no purpose beyond that which an invisible god assigns them. They are asked to believe this without even any evidence for said god beyond a book. It’s a frightening message to a free thinker who cares about people before ideas. Christians seduce followers by making them fear hell or with promises of rewards and comfort with the idea of an invisible god who loves them and will forgive them for anything if they ask. They have no need to be moral as long as they can convince themselves that they will accept Christ into their hearts! Wow…crazy and dangerous, but true according to the bible. The bible asks them to be sheep and to put this invisible thing before the very people that care about them. I can see my kids and kiss my wife, hug my mom, work with my neighbor and friends and all humans - that is real and visible to anyone alive, and that is a FAR greater reason to be good and have hope then anything offered in the bible.
The bible counts on our selfish fears of death and our desire to live eternally rather then our visible and tangible purpose of teaching and raising children and making their lives great simply because they are conscious and have feelings. There is no hope in the bible and it teaches no reason to be moral beyond fear. It plays on our fears and selfish nature and then teaches that by succumbing to these human flaws you are actually being unselfish.